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Olympics: Russia deprived of two more Sochi golds for doping

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Alexander Zubkov, a hero in Russia after winning both the two-man and four-man bob in the Russian Black Sea resort, was disqualified and his results struck off.

[LAUSANNE, Switzerland] The International Olympic Committee has annulled the two titles Russia won in the bobsleigh in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics on Friday following hearings by its commission into state-sponsored doping.

Alexander Zubkov, a hero in Russia after winning both the two-man and four-man bob in the Russian Black Sea resort, was disqualified and his results struck off. The IOC also deprived speed skater Olga Fatkulina of her silver medal in the 500 metres.

The decisions mean the Russians have lost nine medals, including four of their 13 golds, from the Games they hosted in February 2014.

Russia finished top of the medals table but the latest disqualifications mean they have slipped behind Norway (which won 11 golds) and Canada (10 golds).

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Two other Russian competitors at Sochi were disqualified retrospectively on Friday: Olga Stulneva (bobsleigh) and Alexander Rumyantsev (speed skating).

All the guilty athletes have also received a life ban from Olympics. The next Winter Games will be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in February.

A rush of rulings this week means that, in total, the IOC have punished 14 Russian Olympians on the recommendation of a commission headed by Swiss sports official Denis Oswald set up to investigate evidence of state-sponsored doping.

On Wednesday, four skeleton competitors were punished. They included Alexander Tretiakov, the Sochi men's champion, and Elena Nikitina, a bronze medallist, as well as Maria Orlova and Olga Potylitsyna, who did not make the podium.

On Friday, the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation announced that it had provisionally suspended Tretiakov, Nikitina, Orlova and Potylitsyna from its World Cup. It has not yet made an announcement on Zubkov.

In contrast, FIS, the world governing body of skiing, has not taken the same steps against six Russian cross country skiers, including Alexander Legkov, a Sochi gold medalist.

The FIS said on Thursday that the skiers would be provisionally authorised to line up in its World Cup, an announcement that drew outraged reactions from other competitors.

FIS explained the decision by saying they were "obliged to await the official communication of the IOC decision and the evidence behind it, before taking measures." The IOC responded by telling AFP on Friday that: "All the international federations concerned have received the evidence... They had the chance to participate in the hearings." The IOC added that on Monday it will publish the details of the first case dealt with by the commission.

The IOC's executive committee meets in Lausanne from December 5-7 to rule on whether to allow Russia to compete in Pyeongchang.

AFP

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